Dog kills Dr Ekwaro Obuku’s 3-month-old baby, injures housemaid

Dog Attack

Wakiso, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Police are investigating after a dog fatally mauled and killed a 3-month-old baby boy and injured the housemaid, after bravely trying to save the infant, officials have said.

The tragic incident took place at the residence of the family situated in Canaan Estate, Mawugulu Cell, Katabi Town Council.

According to a brief statement from the police, on Monday, March 18, 2024, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a domesticated dog owned by Dr. Andrew Ekwaro Obuku, the former president of the Uganda Doctor’s Association, managed to break free from its kennel.

“The dog violently attacked and bit to death Dr. Obuku’s baby boy, identified as Raphael,” said Entebbe Police Station in a crime scene report seen by the Kampala Dispatch.

“This incident happened when the boy’s parents left him in the custody of the newly-recruited housemaid, Sharon Nuwarinda,” said the police.

Dr. Obuku Ekwaro gained a lot of clout during the 2017 doctors’ strike.

Nuwarinda recounted that she positioned Raphael on the veranda of the house while she attended to her household chores, keeping a vigilant eye on him.

“Then I suddenly saw the dog coming to attack the boy,” she recalled.

“I rushed to pick him up. However, the dog grabbed the boy, and I tried to struggle with the dog, but it overpowered me and bit the boy badly,” said Nuwarinda.

The dog also attacked the maid, biting her thigh. She raised an alarm persistently, and tragically, when the dog fatally injured the boy, it returned to its kennel.

Subsequently, neighbors arrived at Mr. Obuku’s residence, and the deceased child was promptly transported to Kisubi Hospital.

Initial investigations by the police indicate a history of aggression from the dog, including a previous attempt to attack individuals in the neighborhood.

“The dog’s house was not well fixed, which gave it a chance to sneak out,” the police report reads in part, emphasizing, “The doctor’s house is always locked from the gate, which makes it hard for the neighbors to understand the situation.”

“The dog badly bit the boy’s head; hence, it removed the internal organs of the head, say the brain, which is a rare behaviour of dogs, and thus it might have been sick.”

The deceased’s body underwent initial examination at Kisubi Hospital before being transferred to Mulago National Referral Hospital for a post-mortem analysis.

The housemaid was escorted to the Entebbe Police Station for safe custody.

This incident underscores the imperative of providing dog owners with proper guidance on managing potentially hazardous domestic animals.

Government data reveals that Uganda records an average of 14,865 dog bites annually, resulting in 36 deaths from rabies between 2015 and 2020.

Ministry of Health records from 2001 to 2015 indicate a total of 208,000 reported dog bites across all regions of Uganda, with an overall incidence rate of 58.1 cases per 100,000 individuals.

Also Read: 14 teen girls allegedly being trained to sleep with dogs rescued in Kampala

The incidence of dog bites varies across regions, with the highest rates observed in the Northern region, followed by the Central, Western, and Eastern regions.

Suspected human rabies fatalities in Uganda amount to 32 deaths per year, with 29% occurring in the Eastern region, 28% in the Central region, 27% in the Northern region, and 17% in the Western region.

How to Prevent Dog Bites:

  • Never, ever put an infant or toddler on the floor with a dog.
  • Be sure that dogs cannot access children, especially infants, while they are sleeping.
  • Even if you do not own a dog, teach children age-appropriate interactions with dogs.  When teaching children how to approach a dog, always be sure a dog is leashed and under an adult’s full control.
  • Teach children never to put their face at a dog’s level.
  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog, even if it looks friendly.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream.
  • Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.